I’m terrible. I try to avoid the NHL rumour sites like I try to avoid the tabloids at grocery stores. Unfortunately in both scenarios, I know way too much about gossip, hockey rumours, and other stuff in that nature.
I can’t tell you how many columns, articles, and blogs I’ve read suggesting the Philadelphia Flyers need goal scoring help to pull them out of this brutal slump. Yes, you read that correctly. A team with Jeff Carter, Daniel Briere, Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, Scott Hartnell, James vanRiemsdyk, Claude Giroux, and others need more goal scoring. Yeah… goalscoring is definitely the reason the Flyers have dropped 11 of their last 14 games.
I must disagree, respectfully. Simply put, the Flyers desperately need to address three things (none of which include goal scoring).
- Paying attention to their coach
Brian Boucher isn’t a solution. He’s not even a part-time solution – especially when the Flyers are already at rock bottom. The same can be said about Michael Leighton, who the Flyers just picked up off waivers from Carolina. Until Ray Emery gets back to full health, the Flyers need to do something. According to TSN, the Montreal Canadiens have reportedly offered Jaraslav Halak (no clue what they want back, although Bob Gainey hints a 2nd round pick is the standard for a back up goalie) – that might actually be a good solution for the team. The Flyers are 2-4 since Emery went down and have allowed 18 goals against in those 6 games. Halak might be the best solution for the team, even when Emery comes back from injury. Having and Emery/Halak tandem would be the strongest pair of the goalies the Flyers have had in years.
The Philadelphia Flyers are the most penalized team in the NHL, averaging 17 minutes of penalties per game. This has to stop under not-so-new coach Peter Laviolette. It’s not just the short handed time that hurts the Flyers, its the negative momentum penalties cause, as well as the distractions/drama. Look no further than Scotty Hartnell’s senseless holding the stick penalty from last night’s Penguins/Flyers game. I think its time the Flyers stop trying to intimidate every other NHL team and worry about winning games by skating and working hard. It worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs… (and they have significantly less goal scorers!) and that’s certainly the way Laviolette wants his team to play.
Paying Attention to the Coach
John Stevens is gone and has been gone for a few weeks. Peter Laviolette is the coach and the Flyers players need to start playing attention to him. They need to stop doing these ‘we know its our fault’ interviews and play hard at each and every game for the rest of the season. I don’t buy this garbage of needing weeks worth of practices to learn Laviolette’s system. The Flyers need bare down, engage themselves, and commit to playing as a team for the remainder of the season. Right now, they look like a group of individuals. Should they continue this style of play, they will miss the playoffs and they will be blown up (trades, etc…).
Despite a dismal last stretch, the season is far from over for the Flyers. They are only 2 points out of a playoff spot (despite being tied with the Islanders and Rangers for last in the division) and can turn this ship around. The question is, do they want to. Amid rumours of team division, leadership issues, and more, none of that will matter if this team misses the playoffs. The three points above are a pretty good starting point for the Flyers to get back on track and none of it has to do with goal scorers..
Stay classy, Philadelphia Flyers. You don’t need any more goal scorers.
About the Author: Kevin Burgundy runs and operates Stayclassy.net - The internet's best damn hockey blog... with a hint of Burgundy. SC is the smartest and sharpest hockey blog you'll read today (in the next 3 minutes). Go read it today and have a laugh! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Stay_Classy Site: http://www.stayclassy.net